Ossa Sepia

August 12, 2019

Camera Tests of a Sunday

Filed under: Lyf, Young, old and oldest — Diana Coman @ 3:49 p.m.

As I've finally retired my 14+ years old1 Sony camera and got myself the currently recommended still-Sony camera, I was rather curious if it does anything to my daily lack of photo-enthusiasm. So I started with a test on the nearest rose bush that I brought out from wilderness2 and into the light - for added photographic points, there were even a few water drops still on it (click for full-resolution, ~6MB with-droplets-image):

Water drops on a rosy-yellow opened rose with a bud nearby.

Water drops on a rosy-yellow opened rose with a bud nearby.

It certainly looks *better* than what the 14+ year old camera can currently obtain (though it used to do better) and it's certainly true that the new camera is lighter, smaller, with a bigger screen and the same sort of interface even, only improved - for once, actually improved! Such wonder. So I stalked a butterfly too but it didn't want to open up its wings while observed:

Brownish butterfly (perhaps a Small Heath aka Coenonympha pamphilus aka Pamfil?) on a garden bush.

Brownish butterfly (perhaps a Small Heath) on a garden bush.

While I was watching the rose and the butterfly, my child was watching me with a certain electronics-related interest since I had told him that he may indeed use all the new components but only as he gets to actually know them with the help of everything he has. So after a while, off we went to figure out just what do resistors do in a circuit and how to measure intensity or voltage and what a potentiometer might possibly be. As he had more work to do on the figuring out front really, I continued with my own camera testing:

Child making a series circuit to see the effect of different resistors.

Child making a series circuit to see the effect of different resistors.

What does this potentiometer do?

What does this potentiometer do?

And after quite a while of circuit-making and switch-switching and delighted laughter when things happened exactly as he thought they would (and surprised questions when they didn't), he remembered suddenly that there were still some remains of a certain walnut and cocoa Chec3 of very young age indeed. So I ran faster than him and managed to mess up a picture of sorts while there were still any pieces left on the plate:

Pieces of walnut and cocoa marbled cake on a green plate.

Pieces of walnut and cocoa marbled cake on a green plate.

Now that this camera is indeed all it was said to be and even something extra (I hadn't quite realised just how much smaller and handier it can possibly be), all that it's left is for me to put this take-photos-thing on the list of daily (or at least regular) requirements, huh. Though I still think the kid got the better toy this time...

  1. It's a usual lifespan, even on the young side really! 

  2. When we first moved to this house we've been told by a very-convinced woman that the garden is "very low maintenance, don't need to do anything really." Even at that time, it was enough to look at the garden and one could indeed see that she hadn't bothered - for years even - to do absolutely anything at all about the garden but that of course does *not* mean that nothing was *needed*! Still, she had no idea what I meant, of course, of course. She saw no need for anything and therefore nothing was needed - not as if this is not the usual excuse, isn't it? 

  3. Chec is a sort of easy-made marbled cake made in 1001 variations as the chef decides: in this incarnation I left out the rum and it contained crushed walnuts + the few brazil nuts and macadamia nuts that were lost among the walnuts; and cocoa in half the dough of course, as otherwise there'd be no marble effect. 

August 7, 2019

A Visit at the Recycling of War Artefacts Museum

Filed under: Lyf, Tgdyk tgdyk — Diana Coman @ 7:08 p.m.

His name was H. and he was made to fly. H. flew sometimes for fun, sometimes for duty and nobody really stopped to separate the two - how did it matter whether or when it was one or the other, anyway? After all, H. had made loops in the air when followed by the eyes of children waving flags but also when trying to avoid a quite different type of followers. In between flights though, there was also a lot of travel on land and on sea, chasing the next possibility to fly and getting in the process a lot of markings from all the travel and from all the chasing. But it was in the end a simple fire after taxying that kept Harrier ZD4611 down long enough for it to be declared the past and rather than repaired, just hung on ropes at the museum, in a bit of a mixed-up exhibition, next to a bomb of previous times:

A WW2 bomb next to a Harrier plane active from 1990 to 2010.

A WW2 bomb next to a Harrier plane active from 1990 to 2010.

We visited the Imperial War Museum in London (IWR) at the end of June this year but I never bothered to write down anything about it - it's a bit of a mix really with some interesting bits (there are Robert Capa's photos taken during the landing of American troops on the beach in Normandy on 6th June 1944; there are also regular events with WW2 veterans - at times and depending on your luck, you might get a glimpse of what they made of it), some reasonable parts (I hadn't seen the insides of a bomb before) and some terribly propagandistic stuff - at times the three are even mixed, what can you do. As I was clearing up my old camera today, the few pictures I took at the time (and promptly forgot about) came to light and so here's the entrance too, from the only awkward angle I could find at the time to avoid having some t-shirt clad icecream eater in the picture:

Barrels of 2 naval guns stranded on land in front of the former-hospital that is now the Imperial War Museum in London.

Barrels of 2 naval guns stranded on land in front of the former-hospital that is now the Imperial War Museum in London.

The entrance though is quite representative of the whole place - it makes me think more of recycling and propagandistic posing than of war itself (then again, everything is indeed forever recycled and arguably propaganda of one sort or another too). The building itself is a former hospital that recycled in the 19th century the Ionic for its columns. The two guns pointing away from it are barrels of naval guns taken from 2 different ships - the link being that both shot at least once during WW2. The shells are planted in neat rows for framing the picture I suppose and serve inevitably as climbing/sitting places for bored children. Mine liked at least the guns (they are BIG) but wasn't impressed by the shells (why are they yellow?). He liked the aeroplanes inside but that's be default currently - if it's an aeroplane, then and therefore it is interesting. And he listened politely to the old man telling his story of what it was like living as a child in London during the war, bombings and deaths and then evacuation and all. After which he raised his hand and waited his turn and asked of course about the one thing that was indeed most interesting from his point of view: *what* was inside this bomb exactly and *how* did it work?

  1. According to the Imperial War Museum docs, the plane is a vertical/short take-off and landing jet aircraft constructed in 1989, used in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan and retired in 2010. 

April 29, 2019

Liliacul madelena

Filed under: Lyf — Diana Coman @ 7:46 p.m.

Mi-i plina curtea-n spate de liliac liliachiu si parfumat fix si exact ca cel de-acum mai bine de 20 de ani dintr-alta tara, alte varste, alte prime dati. Si-am zambit asa cand mi-am luat cateva ramuri intr-un colt de casa fix cum luam atunci - cat sa dea pe-afara din vaza, cat sa fie si verde si mov si parfum chiar daca nu-i la o adica asa mult ori asa artistic ori asa-orice, doar e, altul si tot acelasi ca mai tot pe lumea asta:

Liliac mov in vaza

January 4, 2019

Tandretea inceputului de an

Filed under: Lyf, Young, old and oldest — Diana Coman @ 11:10 a.m.

Daca inceputul a fost cu argumentari iar urmarea a fost cu mirari cat fiinta si purtari de tot felul, 2019 incepe aproape pisiceste asa, tandru si zambitor si cat pe ce sa nu mai am loc de el in fotoliu:


Creste el, mai cresc si eu, va doresc sa tot cresteti si voi ca stat pe loc nu se poate niciodata pe lumea asta. La multi ani!

September 23, 2018

Dressing Directions of Sorts

Filed under: Lyf, Young, old and oldest — Diana Coman @ 7:40 p.m.

Dressing up and dressing down used to be all nice and fine when such directions were at least clear and firm. But what does one do when up or down are much the same since all the world around is - apparently - flatly equal at all its points anyway? Well, as per adapted nursery rhyme, when they were up they dressed up and they were down they dressed down and when they were neither up nor down, they were... salad dressing.

Salads and directions aside, sartorial choices at 6 years of age can be interesting to watch - perhaps even more so, at a later time when they have been forgotten. And they can certainly swing from velvet and hat and shiny bow tie one day to apron and chef hat the next1:


  1. Since it took me about 20 years to even start taking pictures, I can hope I'll also start using a decent camera sometime within the next 40 years or so. 

September 13, 2018

Atunci ca si acum ca-ntotdeauna

Filed under: Lyf — Diana Coman @ 11:27 a.m.

Pentru ca unele lucruri chiar nu se schimba indiferent cat calatoresti in timp, in spatiu ori in alte dimensiuni de nici nu-s descoperite inca, pun aici cuvintele cele adevarate, sa fie de referinta1 adica sa am unde trimite tinerele sperante pline de... a-vant :


  1. Autorul original - al reclamei ori al imaginii scanate macar - nu-l stiu si n-am reusit sa-l descopar ca altminteri circula imaginea dar nu zice nimeni nimic ca de unde a luat-o sau a gasit-o sau cum e. Eu de gasit am gasit-o pentru ca am cautat-o anume, dar nu-i in nici un caz feisbuc acum sursa la asa ceva. Daca stiti anume cine a scanat imaginea si unde, ziceti la comentarii aici.  

September 4, 2018

Pura Vida Like No Other

Filed under: Tgdyk tgdyk — Diana Coman @ 9:11 p.m.

Costa Rica is this enchanted land that has it all: balmy1 weather, sunny skies, warm waters, lush hills and heady mountains, cheeky monkeys and cute crabs, the friendliest people you ever saw and a very good dose of pura vida. This pura vida is the locals' own version of happiness, honey and spice and all the things nice and it really looks quite like this:


There, have you ever seen that wonder before? The very smiley crocodiles of Costa Rica! And not only very smiley, but very friendly too for they won't eat those fish that swim - happily, pura vida! - around their tails. It's true that the smile is just a way to soak in more sun and it's true that fish are simply not worth the bother for those two very full crocodiles. Nevertheless, just try and convince those fish of such ugly thoughts and that crocodiles aren't really just being friendly and nice and good neighbours and all that - you psycrocopat!

Fish aside, if you look carefully at those tico crocodiles, you might notice also something else: the one on the shore has a rather short tail and the one in the water is missing the front paws entirely, now how could that be, how could such horrible things happen in this land of beauty, calm and sunshine? Well, they didn't happen through malice and ugly intent, no; they happened through... ineptitude, ain't that much better? In short, one crocodile insisted on fighting with those who were better at it and a bit of tail lost here and there did not make it change behaviour for it couldn't possibly change - it just was. The other crocodile kept eating some farmer's cattle and the farmer was very friendly and humane so he didn't kill the crocodile - he just chained it so well and so competently that the chains entirely destroyed its front paws essentially ensuring the crocodile would starve left by itself as it can't really swim properly anymore and it can't really move much on land anymore either. Don't you love those kind hearted people that won't kill an animal even when it's a pest?

Happily though, Costa Rica certainly has much more than crocodiles and it turns out I really actually quite like its birds, from owls and mini-eagles to tiny parrots. For they are not even just any birds really but the most curious and rather intelligent birds - some would literally come to check you out, to see for themselves from up close this weird huge bird that won't fly and is not even coloured properly with some real contrast! And even from a cage2, one toucan bird came to say hi and have an upside down look, perhaps that way it might - who knows! - make head and tail of me:

A very curious Toucan bird saying hi.

When speaking of animals of Costa Rica, one can easily go on for ages. There are also owls of various sorts and macaws and parrots and snakes and monkeys and crabs and iguanas and frogs and many others that I don't even really know the name of. And almost everything is either brightly coloured or otherwise well camouflaged in dull sandy colours. Tiny crabs will vanish in the sand as soon as they realise that you spotted them and small pebbles will suddenly wake up and start moving as soon as you went past them. From the trees above, monkeys will suddenly dart down and grab anything they find - whether they need it or not is something they don't bother asking themselves until after they got it since dropping stuff from high up comes at no cost whatsoever to them. From under the rocks below, iguanas and all sorts of other reptiles will come out in the morning and take their favourite place for soaking sun up. And from all sides, the ocean will brush the shore rather savagely with a strong push of breaking foam and an even stronger suck of waters back, sand and shells and anything else included. It's only in smaller, mini-gulf areas that are protected between rocks where waves are broken way before they make it to the shore so that they end up as tiny, gentle ripples only. A bit like that everywhere - in smaller, protected areas, the ocean may seem more like a little sea and the world may seem more like a fairytale.

But let's come back to the kind, friendly and totally innocent people of Costa Rica for what would the land and all the wondrous nature even be without the people! Ticos are truly friendly beyond anything you've likely ever saw - the whole country really feels more like one big village where one knows if not everyone else then surely someone who knows someone and so on until... one feels and pretty much acts like one knows everyone else. And just like in one big village, nobody bothers with street names or house numbers or indeed addresses of any kind - everyone is expected to also know where everything is or at best ask for ...directions on how to get there! So your address ends up being not a short ugly thing such as street name and house number but a long and rather intricate description of how to get there with approximate 100 metres before this and 1km towards that and past the one but before the other and green gate3 on the left but not first but second! And you'd think given this habit that they would have at least the basic idea to keep gate colours as diverse as possible at least within short distances or if not that then the pride to make each of their houses properly stand out with some crazy, unique and obvious - even monstruous if need be - thing at the gate! No, not the friendly, innocent ticos, why would they do such a thing? So no, not much in terms of specific or unique for houses and no attention whatsoever to street names or numbers even when they exist. For everyone knows where everything is and directions are just as good as addresses, remember?

Weirdly enough, the direction-instead-of-address even works of sorts - it works that is most of the time, for it requires of course a local to know where all sorts of small shops, car dealers and weird deposits actually are. If you are not a local or your driver is not a local4 then you are lost anyway, directions or no directions. And so you... ask of course and you get an answer - there's always an answer - but that doesn't mean it is the *right* answer! For you see, they want to be helpful and they won't let such small things as not being able to help stand in the way of their wish to be helpful!

At times however it's true that their being helpful is helpful indeed - especially at times when one didn't even imagine there would be a need for any sort of help! After witnessing a lot of the local traffic, I'd say I would probably need local help even with that - and in all fairness, I really preferred to rely on local hired help for all the driving. Even so, it took me some time to realise that they really honked their horn every time they came close to a crossing of roads - traffic lights or no traffic lights, it does seem in hindsight that one would do well to announce they are coming since nobody bothers necessarily with street markings, signs or indeed lights of any kind. And then the traffic jams and the unexpected turns or stops or what have you. The pedestrians walking on the motorway, the vehicles of all descriptions and no descriptions. After tico traffic, I surprised myself after landing in London since I spent the time admiring from my taxi the ordered progress of british cars along the roads - even now that I write it, I can't quite believe it but at the time it had a certain attraction given the stark contrast of previous days.

At any rate, in terms of getting one out of the trouble that is purely local, there is indeed nobody better apt than a local to help. Imagine this little wonder of a direct bus going straight from the capital San Jose all the way to Manuel Antonio national park, on the Pacific coast. Everything nice and tidy and even ordered by tico standards with seats numbered and even assigned by those same numbers - I honestly wonder why wouldn't they give the seat the same style as the addresses sort of walk about 5 steps and then 2nd on the right with the pink arm rest or something. So taking the bus from San Jose is basically no trouble at all, there's a bus terminal and a ticket station and the bus even leaves on time, goes as stated, arrives on time! But then, at the other end, in Manuel Antonio, they don't sell tickets *at all* - you need to go instead some 10km away to the little town of Quepos to buy any tickets because.... well, I don't know, apparently nobody thought that someone would actually want to take the bus back, going away from Manuel Antonio! Or perhaps tickets are really too advanced for selling in anything smaller than Quepos and what does it matter that the bus really leaves from somewhere else?

But let not any of those small details of ineptitude spoil anything for you - pura vida, remember? People are happy and friendly and monkeys are noisy and a bit of a pest and overall everything is perfect, especially as long as you don't really try to change it. Oh, and to make that clear, there is of course cultural life too and even one that depicts - rather truthfully I'd say - the local pura vida from at least one angle if a rather... obtuse angle:

In other rather greedy recollections, there'd be of course the rum, notwithstanding the fact that it's venezuelan, not costa rican at all. But even before that and certainly more local than that, there is the cocoa and therefore the chocolate that is simply delicious. And the coffee that is so good that even I - who don't really drink much coffee otherwise - still drank coffee in Costa Rica at pretty much any opportunity without any regrets or second thoughts. A certain fig cake there is delicious and some cocktails can be enormous. Some of them really are in fact more like semi-liquid icecreams with alcohol poured in - for better or worse. The fish is always good and - if you ask them to leave the darned salt out of it - well cooked almost always. The local fruit is about 10 times better than anything of same sort I ate anywhere else and I say this although I don't really like unfortunately exotic fruit - to give you some idea, the pineapple there is simply too ... sweet for me! I'm weird like that though and other than the fact that I just don't much like those particular fruits there's otherwise nothing to hold against costa rican avocado, pineapple, mango, coconuts and papayas.

Even in spite of all the monkeys and racoons and iguanas and whatever else the jungle harbours, the best part of it all is for me the water, of course. The warm water and the sun and the sand and all that joy that swimming or even simply jumping the waves can bring. Joy I said, not serenity, for the ocean I find doesn't hold much serenity at all, not with those huge waves, not with the rip current, serenity is just not an ocean thing despite the one thousand words all sorts of pictures might still whisper:

The Pacific ocean at Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio beach, Costa Rica.

  1. The notion is still debated really: what feels balmy for the first days turns out to be rather too hot after a few days and what feels hot away from water seems all of a sudden rather fine next to water so don't take my word for it - use your own thermometer!  

  2. While I saw toucan birds in the wild too, I couldn't quite get a clear picture of one in the wild, sadly. 

  3. Porton Verde - this is now a character in my house, the Porton Verde! 

  4. We had once this taxi driver from the capital who insisted they knew the place when I asked before getting in and then of course, they didn't but they had no problem with it since in their mind I could just act as a GPS, why not? I really don't recall getting that annoyed with a taxi driver in ages and just like last time more than 10 years ago it ended in just asking them to stop exactly there and then taking another taxi, yes, what else. 

April 14, 2018

Prin Prahova-n Prier, 2018

Filed under: Tgdyk tgdyk — Diana Coman @ 6:47 p.m.

Padure in aprilie (Sinaia, 2018) Padure in aprilie (Sinaia, 2018): nedreptatea brazilor de-s verzi tot anul!

Cum am luat recent o mica pauza de la multe mai mari si mai marunte, am fost putin prin Ploiestiul natal si apoi inca mai departe, pe coclauri, ba chiar si pe acolo pe unde ploua odata demult interminabil si implacabil. La munte, Prier prieste ca intotdeauna mugurilor si bobocilor si-n general puilor de ce-ar fi ei sa fie, ca-s de pom, de floare ori de om. Si mergand deci prin padure pe la Sinaia i-am surprins pe cate unii in plin fapt de primavara cum s-ar zice, rasarind de sub radacini si trunchiuri batrane ori pe carari din alt veac, din alte timpuri:

Branduse la Sinaia (Aprilie, 2018) Branduse la Sinaia (Aprilie, 2018)

Pui de om surprins pe carare Pui de om surprins pe carare cu banda albastra. Trunchiuri tepoase numai bune sa le-arunci buzdugan la sosire in poarta castelului. Numai c-acum mi-e ca s-o darama castelul de la mai putin de-atata, o ajunge sa arunci o ramurica-n el ca nici pietrele nu se tin laolalta singure. Asa de la distanta si in poza totusi in fine, inca arata macar a... conac al nimanui asa, precum si e, asta e:

Daca pietrele se darama, in schimb apa tot trece peste, printre si pe langa ele, ca dintotdeauna, ca mereu. Si muschiul creste verde langa zapada ca nu se sinchiseste de atata lucru:

Mini-cascada la marginea potecii prin padure. Mini-cascada de mai sus de la marginea potecii spre vulparie1 prin padure e amenajare veche, de pe vremea cand padurea n-avea doar vizitatori ci si stapani de-adevaratelea - din cei care ii aveau grija adica, fiind ea a lor nu doar a... urmasilor urmasilor lor.

Sus la stana - la fosta stana ca acum e un fel de n-ar mai fi ca in tot cazul deschis nu-i - ne-au intampinat si petrecut o bucata de drum vreo patru catei flocosi si altminteri prietenosi. Dupa tipic modern, fosta stana ar fi teoretic acum restaurant dar se vede treaba ca e pentru catei ca ne miroseau ei pe noi dupa mancare si altfel nu era picior de om pe nicaieri. Asa ca ne-am vazut de drum noi si intr-un final si cainii. Cred ca inteleg si eu noua sintagma de-o tot aud prin Romania cu tinerii frumosi si liberi ca in fine, erau si frumosi flocosii si tineri si liberi, drept.

In alta parte de padure, viata isi vede de treaba, ascutita si nemiloasa: unii cresc mai drept ori mai chinuit ori mai bizar de-a dreptul, dupa cum li-e soarta, altii se frang, altii se crapa de la radacina de nu mai raman decat aschii spre cer:


Copac cu rana

In alta zi si pe-alte dealuri, am umblat in linistea de-o stiam demult, pe versantii de se tot duc la vale pe-o parte si se depun apoi pe cealalta parte, de se intoarce valea pe dos graunte cu graunte de pamant. Si-n vremea asta puiul de om a scotocit prin cladirile lui stra-strabunica-su', a gasit un fierastrau oricum mai batran ca el si-o capra idem si s-a luat deci hotarat de pecetluit soarta lemnului cand nu mai e copac:


Precum se vede in fundal am zis ca are de lucru suficient asa ca l-am lasat sa-si vada de treaba si m-am dus in ale mele. Iar altii si-au vazut si ei de treaba la loc anume din gradina unde lucrurile stateau la un anumit moment cam asa:


Dupa momentul asta n-a mai stat nimeni de poze, asta e.

Altminteri inapoi in Ploiesti, Prier nu prieste ci mai degraba zice-se ca ...jupeste. Cu tot Pastele trambitat altminteri prin megafoane de catedrala din buricul centrului, plutea asa disperare si pustietate-n aer de nu se poate. Si-i prima data cand am vazut asa cozi serioase (20+ de oameni) doar la... "schimb valutar si amanet". Concluzii o trage fiecare pentru sine si dupa cum ii trebuie, ca altminteri opiniuni pe orice tema are tot romanul ba chiar in dublu ori triplu exemplar, doar n-o putea altminteri sa taca ori sa admita - imposibil! - ca... nu stie ori nu pricepe, nu?

  1. Vulparie care era regala de altfel si care nu mai este deloc ca ori e om ori nu-i nimic, ca atatea altele. Era practic casa padurarului regal care avea in grija intre altele nu doar copacii ci si animalele din padure, evident. Pe de alta parte amenajarea si cararea pietruita in sine sunt probabil de mai tarziu, din lucrarile facute mai cu sila mai cu forta mai cu bata mai cu parul de comunisti ca asta ar fi varianta a doua: daca nu-i de drag atunci o fi de frica. 

March 30, 2018

My First 2 Years as CTO for Minigame

Filed under: Lyf — Diana Coman @ 6:35 p.m.

This February, while I was still fighting to set straight the bits and bytes of Keccak for EuCrypt, a quiet note from my personal time-log popped up for a moment, as a brief reminder that it's been 2 full years since I took up this position with Minigame. And what 2 years those have been!

Before I go any further with this summary of sorts, I must say that I never coveted this position nor planned for it in any way. My initial contact with Eulora was as a player and I never wished for that to change really. Events inevitably built on one another and retrospectively one might be tempted to see any links or stages as some sort of proof of an underlying plan. While this may be convenient for some "narrative" mindset, it's still false: there was never any planning or "purpose" in sight. At each and every step there was only cause and necessity at work, shaping the outcome rather without any choice really. So do me a favour and don't ever inject into this timeline any nonsense of "goals" and don't ever try to paint it as a sort of step by step thing *towards* something. My involvement with Eulora has never been and it will never be towards something. It has always been and it will ever be coming from somewhere.

All I wanted from the beginning - I still want it - was to play Eulora, this rare game that focuses by design, explicitly and quite effectively on engaging the thinking person, on rewarding applied intelligence and knowledge. And when it became clear that part of the price for this rare want of mine1 was my own return to coding, I still hoped that I'll simply maintain and happily build my own Foxybot, nothing more. After I witnessed the feat of Chetty who turned around in a single week and working alone a stumbling, crashing server into a solid rock, my hope grew a bit larger to include the idea that I might someday work *with* her. But hopes are more often than not just fear inverted: one looks quite purposefully2 at the opposite of that which they can't yet bear to see although they know it'll come to pass one way or another, no matter how improbable it might seem. And this time it was sadly no different as I neither got to simply focus on Foxybot nor to work with Chetty at all: instead, if there was to still be any Eulora at all, I got to simply try and continue from where she had no choice but to stop.

The beginning was as it almost always tends to be: optimistically naive, regardless of all and any of previously accumulated scars that toned down an even higher level of natural optimism and naivety combined. Perhaps when I'll find myself NOT having to trim those down after a while in a new project I'll be able to say that I'm indeed as old as the hills - if I'll still be able to say anything at all at such a time. In any case, February to March 2016 were spent making small fixes to various issues of the server and getting to know the full code base. April to July 2016 included the first big pain: porting the full code (client and server) to 64 bits; in addition but nowhere nearly as painful and horrible as that transition, there were of course a set of new features added and the first forays into the gnarly part of graphics for Eulora. This part concluded with a smooth new client release in July/August 2016, packed with new stuff, some of which was set out explicitly in the corresponding S.MG statement and some of which was only hinted at, so as to avoid spoiling it all for players.

Buoyed by having reached at least the end of the 32 bits to 64 bits migration swamp (it felt like hell at the time but retrospectively it was of course just a minor puddle of a swamp, there was and surely is worse to come), everything seemed suddenly within reach in the summer of 2016: the practically infinite landscape, the migration to RSA-based authentication, the graphics market place and with it the final client release that could be afterwards seamlessly updated as and when the server made new content available. The initial required sever-side refactoring proceeded satisfactorily if painfully. And then of course the optimism died many a slow and tortuous death over the remaining months of 2016 and pretty much all of 2017.

First, the rot of the open source legacy code turned out to be so entrenched that it resisted any and all attempts at sanity with effects more and more pronounced as one tried to build more and more useful and sane parts - the partial refactoring turned quickly into an almost entire re-write, all while the server was up and running, literally changing the engine of the car while driving it and with passengers on board as well, for good measure3. When this second code-hell was over in September 20174 there was as a result one big but smooth server update that packed a lot in, with the most visible changes being: the ECu (Eulora's currency) floated 10:1, new merchant interface, separate storages of the 2 NPCs, unlimited stacking of items, fixed and server-chosen characters for new players, metered traffic, tighter server-side controls of player movement and various fixes of edge cases in the game.

Once the code base was brought not to full sanity but to a much more reasonable state, there was of course finally, belatedly, time to focus again on switching to RSA authentication, making the client-server communication protocol and then the practically infinite landscape and so on. But as before, reality turned out to be an uglier beast than it had initially seen: there was in fact no usable RSA and no usable cryptographic layer at all on which to rely for Eulora's needs. So I worked on making it of course, what else was there to do.

In October 2017 I switched thus from code-refactoring and cleaning to a mixed pack of study (inevitably, Maths and crypto such as it is featured strongly), code understanding (the insane mpi comes first to mind, mainly due to its dubious habits of sweeping dirt under the carpet), Ada and V learning and practice, code design, writing, testing and weekly5 write-ups that effectively grew into EuCrypt, the cryptographic library for Eulora. As much as possible and in parallel to all of this, work continued as well, of course, on the rest of parts yet to be completed: the communication protocol, the major change of database design and so on. I completed the EuCrypt series of write-ups at the beginning of this month and then of course, I added a new check to it following useful feedback from Arjen. And while writing the EuCrypt was no walk in the park, I must say that I wouldn't call it any sort of hell either for hard work and even relentless struggle in themselves are no hell - they may be tiresome and even wearisome and all that but they simply lack the vomit-inducing moments and mental tortures of previous experiences with the legacy code base.

There is of course more to do and more to come, now that EuCrypt is completed and it starts being put to use. But the results of all the toil of those past 2 years go beyond the updates and the new features and the library itself: there is now a much healthier base to build on, there is now effectively a way to build all those exciting things that make Eulora the game I wanted 2 years ago, the game I still want. And for all my current fatigue6 and for all the current woe of being at the moment without an actual machine on which to run Eulora's server, I'm looking forward to the work that is still yet to come for it is finally the moment to focus again on the most exciting parts - the ones where Eulora begins to truly take off!

  1. My wants are both rare and of the sort that money alone can never buy on the spot - go ahead, buy me with all the money in the world a working Eulora right now, will you? I'm neither boasting nor complaining; I'm merely stating, mainly for my own repeated recollection, this not-yet-ever-contradicted own experience. 

  2. If, perhaps, subconsciously, if one never ever looked into oneself enough to notice this sort of subterfuges. 

  3. between January and September 2017 alone, the code base went from 330k LOC to 264k LOC where the resulting 264k LOC actually included a lot of comments and tests and re-implementation of a saner nature of the useful parts 

  4. As the saying goes: if you find yourself in hell, just keep going until it's over. Can't say I have any better suggestion really. 

  5. By weekly I really mean weekly: New Year or no New Year, if it's a Thursday then there is a new EuCrypt post. 

  6. Fatigue that even became so acute as to result those last few days in what I call mind-blank-mistakes: the point where the mind blinks occasionally as it were, missing things that it would never miss under any other circumstances; these include the physical bumping into corners/objects because of mis-estimating them and the logical - missing obvious mistakes in one's own code. And no, I still don't call this extreme fatigue because I know unfortunately further levels of that too - it comes with various territories and natures. 

January 6, 2018

Punctul cu patalama de trecere

Filed under: Lyf — Diana Coman @ 9:34 p.m.

O sambata ca orice alta zi, ca-i a sasea din an ori a sase suta, ca-i anul 2018 sau 1018, inainte ori dupa ceva eveniment de nu mai stie nimeni ce si cum a fost de-adevaratelea. Sigur, am schimbat calendarul, am schimbat agenda, am schimbat numarul de-l scriu la orice data ba chiar am si ciocnit un pahar (sau mai multe), ca doar de ce n-as face asa ceva? Dar nu s-a schimbat nimic anume, nici un centimetru, nici un milimetru, nici ca esenta nici ca infatisare nici ca ritm macar. Un punct in timp ales anume tot nu-i in sine mare trecere, oricati stramosi si-oricate focuri de-artificii i s-ar pune-n carca iar si iar. Punctul biet tot nu-i trecere, chiar daca a primit certificat ca-i mai cu mot ca toate celelalte, chiar daca toti ii zic ca nu e doar un punct ci o mare si foarte importanta trecere. Cam tot asa dupa cum nu-i nimeni nici doctor nici profesor nici inginer nici chiar nimic doar pentru are o hartie pe care scrie ca ar fi. Pentru an ca si pentru oameni trecerea se cere faptuita si se descopera mai degraba in urma decat inainte, mai degraba pe neasteptate decat la intervale egale, alese, sincronizate extern.

A trecut un an asadar, un an de la ultimul an si-atat. O masura doar si-mi pare curios cum sarbatoreste lumea pe de-o parte anul cel nou privind inainte dar pe de alta parte aniversarea proprie privind mereu in trecut. E acelasi tip de "trecere" pana la urma, una mai mult cu numele, doar un punct cu patalama si-atat, ca-i inceputul anului calendaristic ori inceputul anului personal. Si totusi lumea sarbatoreste global viitorul dar individual trecutul. De parca ar zice - chiar fara sa priceapa - ca fiecare isi are cu sine trecutul propriu spre ajutor ori dimpotriva, dar altfel lumii asteia mari ii pasa numai si numai de viitor, de urmatoarea ei secunda de existenta care e in fapt singurul fruct real al anului, daca e si acela. Viitorul lumii e trecutul indivizilor iar lumea sarbatoreste iar si iar un simplu punct de trecere de pe un cerc ca intr-un joc cu cartonas inscriptionat anume: sarbatoare, artificii, sampanie.

Sigur, sarbatoresc si eu dar in felul meu asa linistit si calm, pe undeva tenace mi s-a spus: zi de zi si ora de ora cu tot ce reusesc sa fac e sarbatoare, cu tot ce imi propun sa fac imi propun sarbatorile, cu tot ce invat din cele intamplate imi numar luminile de artificii. Pauze iau si din acelea, dar pauze de la lucruri anume, nu pauze de la tot ori de la mine, ca timpul tot e fix al meu cat mi-o fi scris sa fie.

Uneori, cand simt nevoia, ca e ea in calendar sau nu, fac si petrecere anume, sigur, de ce nu? Plec si-n calatorii, fac si nazbatii, ba chiar scriu si versuri si cod pentru calculatoare, oricat ar parea de dubioasa combinatia. Scriu de asemenea uneori, ca acum, de inceput de an chit ca-i deja a sasea zi, de inceput de an chit ca am lucrat si-am si stat saptamana asta ca si cealalta ca si urmatoarea. Fac asadar si scriu si vorbesc si calatoresc si sarbatoresc dar nu doar ori fix la un punct anume ci unde ma duce pana la urma nevoia si vointa proprie.

Imi pare ca doar asa, anume zi cu zi pe nesimtite se aduna cand si cand de cate-o trecere intreaga de ma uit uneori inapoi si-mi par unele lucruri tare-tare indepartate. Atunci abia, cat stau privind asa departarea asta noua din urma, numar uneori, numar anii ori zilele ori chiar oamenii. Si zic dupa caz, cui se cuvine, la multi, multi ani, dragii mei!

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